Decorative Initial Mariana" addresses the issue of an individual and her lack of connection with society. Despite the loneliness and dread that Mariana feels, she still wants the connection with an other. She laments repeatedly, "My life is dreary, He cometh not... I am aweary, aweary, I would that I were dead" Her loneliness encourages her to wish her own death. The obvious bout of depression in which Mariana is immersed indicates the concern with mental health that became so important during the nineteenth-century. Having a healthy body and mind was a priority and a topic that occupied the minds of most middle class citizens. The emerging fascination with mentally unstable people, such as Mariana, indicates this growing societal obsession with mental health and sanity. This obsession stems in part from the desire to connect the individual with society. One who is mentally unstable is largely incapable of making a connection with other members of society. They become figures like the man who interrupts Pickwick's reverie, obsessed with their own life and death in a way characteristic of Romantic thinkers. Thus word-painting in Tennyson does not work to represent a contrast between past and present, as it does in Dickens, but rather as a way to establish the depression and emptiness that come from a lack of connection with any other human being, placing Mariana firmly in the Victorian present.

Victorian Web Overview Pickwick Papers Mariana

Last modified 30 November 2004